New York City Adopts Vaccine Mandate for Private-Sector Employees

December 16, 2021

On December 6, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (the “Department of Health”) would issue an order requiring private-sector employees to receive and show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (the “Order”). On December 15, 2021, the Department of Health published the Order and additional guidance explaining the requirements of the mandate. Key provisions of the Order are summarized below:

  • Key Deadlines:
    • By December 27, 2021, all full- or part-time staff members, employers, employees, interns, volunteers, or contractors of covered employers who work in-person at a workplace in New York City must either provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to their employer or, if they have a sincerely held religious belief or a medical condition that prevents them from being vaccinated, apply for a reasonable accommodation. The Order applies to any employer that employs more than one worker in New York City.
      • Individuals who have already received the first dose of a two-dose vaccine or the sole dose of a one-dose vaccine will need to show proof of full vaccination by December 27, 2021.
      • Individuals who have not yet received any doses of a vaccination must show proof of a first dose by December 27, 2021 and proof of a second dose (if applicable) within 45 days of the date they received the first dose.
      • Individuals do not need to provide proof of receipt of a COVID-19 booster shot.
      • Individuals who are permitted to work remotely do not need to provide proof of vaccination. However, if employees are later required to return to the office, they will be required to meet the vaccination mandate.
    • By December 27, 2021, all covered employers must fill out and post in a conspicuous location in the workplace the Affirmation of Compliance with Workplace Vaccination Requirements.
  • Proof of Vaccination:
    • Employers should verify workers’ proof of vaccination by asking to view: (A) an acceptable form of identification and (B) a photo or hard copy of their CDC vaccination card, the NYC COVID Safe App, New York State Excelsior Pass, CLEAR Digital Vaccine Card, CLEAR Health Pass, or official vaccine record.
  • Consequences for Noncompliance:
    • Employers who refuse to comply with the Order are subject to a fine of $1,000 and escalating penalties thereafter if violations persist.

Seward & Kissel will continue to monitor developments relating to this Order. Employers should contact counsel regarding compliance with existing local, state, and federal vaccine policies and the upcoming Order.

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If you have any questions regarding this Act, or any other employment issues, please contact Anne C. Patin at (212) 574-1516, Julia C. Spivack at (212) 574-1373 or your relationship partner at the Firm.


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